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Archive of ‘Good Shtuff’ category

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Just picked up @bluebirdlegacy's yarn from the fiber mill...and sold every last skein to Purl'sYarn Emporium. Stop in to squeeze it! It is SO GOOD.

Good morning! Will there be coffee? Or pastries?  In line @jcStarbucks.

Yay! Done with the body of #bluesandcardigan! Picking up for the front. #knitting #pluckyknitter #knitstagram

Raylan apologizes for getting up at 5:30 & wants to know if we can go back to bed. #raylanpup #taralovesmornings #butnotthatearly

So much progress on #brandiedcherries! #taralovesmornings

I am so grateful for…

  • Warm weather!
  • I saw the first of the Spring daffodils and it’s really the best news all week.
  • Total writing flow. I wrote over 3.5K words on Monday and 5.5k on Wednesday and whoa, does it feel good.

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m knitting: 

In case you missed it: 

  • I’m teaching at Craftcation in just two weeks! YAY! If you’re in SoCal, please join me! (Or at the very least, let’s have a coffee! Drop me a note here.)
  • Think you need to worry about “managing your time”? You don’t.
  • Not sure where to start with keeping track of your business numbers? Start here.
  • The Starship will open for only 5 days this quarter. Sign up here to be the first to find out.

What adventures have you had?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

The snow is so beautiful, but a bit inconvenient. I ordered boots (Chucks just aren't waterproof) last week after the big snow...and they were scheduled to be delivered yesterday. But it was too snowy to deliver my snow-surviving boots. #irony  #taraloves
New business cards, for TaraSwiger.com
People. Cabin fever is a real and dangerous affliction in which your warm cozy house begins to CLOSE IN ON YOU. And your loving dogs are suddenly THE WORST. And snow (your favorite!) is now THE ENEMY.     Or so I've heard. #snowedin
Sooo happy I finished these mittens before today's (supposed) Big Snow. #knitting #knitstagram
Shipping out signed copies of Market Yourself

I am so grateful for…

  • A warm house on snowy days
  • Work I can do anywhere (when you’re snowed in and seeing no one but your husband, client calls are life-savers)
  • New business cards + packaging for my books!
  • Looking forward to warm sun and making new friends at CraftCation!
  • Handknit mittens!!

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

The nightly dinner show. #raylanpup
More from Yarn Haus - wall of yarn, next to a wall of buttons. #lys #yarn
SUCCESS! I gave Mom her birthday gift (Amy Miller's Isabel in #pluckyknitter yarn) and it fits!  This has been my secret project for three months. I can finally show you!! @ She's already got it on to search for Nashville lunch spots for tomorrow. Suggest
Today's "studio" for a live Q&A with #TSLiftOff & #StarshipBiz. And by studio, you understand that I mean corner of my living room that gets ok light. Board filled with the map of my Redwoods 10k, Spocks by @amysnotdeadyet, watercolor by me, #TARDIS swatc
After knitting a long St st cardigan in fingering weight, you better believe I cast on for  a squooshy worsted weight cabley sweater. @theacolman's Brandied Cherries in @pluckyknitter Cozy. #pluckyknitter #babycocktails

I am so grateful for…

  • Possibilities + Idea Enthusiasm
  • Mittens + Shawls
  • Hilarious puppies
  • Delicious food
  • Finishing the sweater!

You might like:

This week I held a live Q+A for Lift Off + Starship students. In it, I answered the most-asked questions about profit math (which we cover in Pay Yourself), how to know when you can trust your sales enough to quit your dayjob, and the only app I use to record my podcast.

You can watch it here:

(To fully understand your break-even points, take Pay Yourself. You find links to everything else I mention here.)

What adventures have you had?

11 best books of 2014

my 11 favorite books of 2014For the past two years I’ve been sharing my monthly reading lists and holding an informal “book club” in the comments each month. I absolutely love the suggestions you make, and I’ve found many new authors thanks to your ideas!

Each month I say a bit about the books and might mention if I really liked it, but if you were looking for books I wholeheartedly recommend, it’s not so easy to find the best. (This is on purpose, as I can’t tell how much I want to recommend a book until I’ve pondered it for a while after reading it.) So today I’d like to narrow down the 72 books I read in 2014 into my very favorites. These are the books I would wholeheartedly recommend that you pick up and read this year! I’ve split them into most-favorite (you should read them no matter who you are!), starting a craft business (especially useful if you’re just getting started or want a refresher), and fiction, because we all need more fiction!
(Note: most of these books were published long before 2014, but I read them in 2014.)

My most-favorite

  1. 10 years in the Tub: a Decade of Soaking in Great Books, by Nick Hornby. I picked this up randomly from the Reading section of my library (geek alert!) and I am so happy with it. It’s a collection of Hornby’s “What I’m Reading” articles (you know I love that!) for the Believer magazine, which he wrote for 10 years. The articles are funny, memorable, and perfectly express what it is I love about reading. (Warning: It caused me to add over a dozen books to my To Read list. Beware!)
  2. Make it Mighty Ugly by my pal Kim Werker. I’m actually still reading this book, because I’m doing all the exercises in it. I’ve discovered quite a bit about myself and feel myself becoming braver in my creative endeavours.
  3. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg – This was so great! I find myself applying this to my own life and my work with clients all the time. If you want to get stuff done or lead a life you love, you need to develop habits that make things happen. This book teaches you how.
  4. If You Can Talk, You Can Write, Joes Saltzman. The title says it all…and I’d add: If you have a business, you can (and do!) write!  I used the prompts to keep up with my 1,000 words a day and found myself quoting it to the writing-scared. Pick it up if you think you “can’t” write.
  5. Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. I wanted to post almost every page of this book and say: Yes! Yes! If you don’t know how to start sharing your work or using social media, read Austin’s book. It’s more on the inspirational, just-get-going side than my book, but has the same message: Share your work and keep sharing it.

Starting a Craft Business

6. The Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup, by Jamie Tardy – Despite the title, this book is less about being a millionaire and more about starting a business and growing, based on how millionaires have done it. I tend to avoid “get rich” books, and this book is far from it. Jamie has a great podcast with interesting interviews, and she’s taken all she’s learned and turned it into a great getting-started guide. I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t know where to start.

7. $100 Start-up by Chris Guillebeau. As I hoped, this is going to the top of my to-recommend list for those where-to-start questions. This is for you if you’re not sure how to get started and if you are seriously excited to start a business. Even though I’m 8 years past “start-up”, I still learned stuff – I used the Launch Checklist while opening Pay Yourself (and had my biggest class launch ever!).

Want my all-time favorite small business books? I’ve collected all 28 of them in the Bibliography of this class. You only get it when you buy the bundle.

Fiction

I find reading fiction to be as important as any non-fiction, business-y, or educational reading I do. It improves my ear (and hopefully, pen) for great turns of phrase, interesting language usage, and metaphor. Plus, it’s fun. And we need fun.

8.  Ready Player One, by Earnest Cline. SO GOOD. I devoured it.

9. Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. I went through an Irving spell several years ago and I don’t know how I missed this one. A great novel, recommended by Kim.

10. The Magician’s Land, by Lev Grossman. This is the last book in the three-book series, so you definitely need to start with the first!

11. The Odyssey, by Homer – I’m sure I read parts of this in High School, but as part of my Great Books Project I wanted to read the whole thing. I was completely shocked by how gripping and … modern it all felt, especially if you read any sci-fi. I wholeheartedly love it, recommend it, and can’t believe it took me so long.

My favorite reading this year was inspired by my desire to read all those books I missed and developed into my Great Books Project. I shared the seeds of this idea back in July and then I really started reading in earnest in October.

 

What were your favorite books of 2014? What are you adding to your list?

 

 

Disclaimer-y Disclaimer!  Or course I’m biased when my friends write a book, but I don’t mention things I don’t like. Also, I’m an Amazon affiliate and I get a tiny percent when you buy a book through my links. Read the usual disclaimer here.

86 Things I Loved in 2014

New year. New pound of coffee. #taralovesmornings
It’s Friday, and on Fridays I usually post about the adventures of that week…but this week I wanna do something different. When I read Austin Kleon’s list, I was immediately inspired to start my own list, as part of my year-end review. I’ve been adding to it for over a week, and since having 75 things to list is what I’m most grateful for this week, I wanted to share it!

(This is no particular order, I just started listing as things came to me.)

86 things I loved in 2014

  1. Working with the CreativeLIVE team. It inspired me to think about teamwork in a whole new light and opened up a world of what’s possible. Also, they made my experience magical.
  2. The entire CreativeLIVE class experience  – the students (online and in person), the work of putting together my best material, the teaching-in-front-of-thousands feeling…and the confidence it built. The experience was not one of my “goals” for the year (it came up organically and I stayed open to it), but I totally needed this.
  3. Jess. She makes my entire life better with her feedback, editing, and smarts.
  4. Meeting and falling into immediate friendship with Misty.
  5. And our knitting video podcast together, which started in a moment of “sure, let’s do this!” It’s fantastic to have something on my schedule that’s just for fun and just about fun. And the community is fantastic
  6. An afternoon with Jill and Amy and Veronique.
  7. Watching TV snuggled with Jay and the pup: Arrow, Sons of Anarchy (OMG!), Game of Thrones.
  8. Having the remote to myself when Jay works late: The Good Wife, Scandal and Gilmore Girls (!!)
  9. Movies in the sofa cinema.
  10. Crafting with mom. Watching her shop grow.
  11. The “podcasting revolution”  (I’ve been listening to podcasts since 2005…so, it’s not really new to me) and especially Startup and Serial and Elise Gets Crafty.
  12. Leading the Starship. The friends I’ve made, the growth I’ve been witness to, the celebrations of their awesomeness + fearlessness.
  13. Headspace. For the first time ever, I have a morning routine, and it’s all about Headspace.
  14. Starting Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast in under a week, just because I wanted to. The listeners. The pictures in #exploreyourenthusiasm.
  15. Pad Thai.
  16. Actually, the entire Isa Does It book. I made more meals from this book than any other resource.
  17. Alpaca farmers! The Fiber as Business Conference was an amazing experience and the fallout has been fantastically unexpected.
  18. Wooster, OH and the road trip we took to get there. Mission Savvy is all-vegan, in the middle of West Virginia (kind of a shock!); a (small) vegan menu at TJ’s in Wooster, OH; a great breakfast at Spoon Market in downtown Wooster.
  19. Shout outs in the funnest places: International Camelid Quarterly, Yarn Market News, Stamgington’s blog, Introvertology, lists of great podcasts, an author’s blog, the Rock + Purl podcast, Curvy Yoga, Morning Coffee with Lisa Clarke50 inspiring women on OhMyHandmade!
  20. San Diego + Oceanside.
  21. TNNA and a dinner with a crowded table of yarnie smarties. These are my people.
  22. Reading. A lot. As much as I wanted.
  23. The AMAZING dress Karen made me. No piece of clothing has ever made me happier.
  24. Running through the Redwoods and the entire PacNW road trip with my college roomie.
  25. Training to run a 10k – it was cold, it was hot, and it was really empowering.
  26. Hugging Diane.
  27. Starting a crazy new project with Shannon, just because we’re excited.
  28. Realizing that all the best things I did this year was just because it sparked my enthusiasm and sounded like fun! 
  29. In season strawberries on everything.
  30. Last minute Christmas knitting next to the sparkly tree.
  31. “Don’t downsize your joy.” by Alex Franzen
  32. My Great Books Project and especially the surprise of The Odyssey.
  33. Beau. Always Beau. He makes everything better.
  34. Lift Off: dreaming it up, creating it, and watching it change perspectives.
  35. New apps! Cruelty Cutter, Pocket, and Blendoku.
  36. Evernote. (It’s where I started this post)
  37. My Chromebook – it’s light, fast, and it’s SO easy to travel with.
  38. Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies. Blueberry bars. Apple Crisp. Cinnamon rolls.
  39. Pesto, on everything.
  40.  My new website design! And working with Jessika and having the best experience. I especially love the little smiling planet!
  41. Plucky Knitter yarn. It makes me happy and the community is fun. (In case you’re wondering, Hotsy Totsy IS my pink.)
  42. Spinning again.
  43. Finding a shampoo I love and this color-saving conditioner.
  44. Settlers of Catan
  45. Flowering trees!
  46. Reading and learning from the generous sharing of Income Reports – Abby’s, Pinch of Yum’s and Mei’s.
  47. New business tools! Especially CoSchedule, IFTT and Buffer.
  48. Doctor Who was everywhereSlippers. Earrings. My fave mug.
  49. Rainbow-y sampler-y quilts, like this one by Ana Maria Horner and the Tula City Sampler and especially this one
  50. The discussion about being a professional, especially Kim’s take on it.
  51. The beautiful vulnerability and braveness and helpfulness of those who blog about their anxiety and depression.
  52. Wednesday morning farmer’s markets.
  53. Getting really clear and systematic about my social media strategy.
  54. My Color Affection. I’ve worn it more than anything else I own.
  55. Interviewing my students and clients and sharing their honesty. 
  56. Capsule Wardrobe! Totally changed my relationship (which was pretty hateful) with my closet.
  57. Stitch Fix! I get one every 3-4 months and I never feel like I “should” be shopping. (I avoid it like the plague, but still need to have some nice things to teach in, ya know?)
  58. Hearing from so many introverts after each “For Introverts” podcast episode. We’re not alone (even though we like to be)!
  59. Sarah Von’s Yes and Yes. I just want to print out all of her advice and give it to every woman I talk to.
  60. Having 2 classes accepting into Craftcation!
  61. Diane’st fantastic t-shirt quilting class. It finally got our long-saved t-shirts out of storage and into an actual quilt!
  62. Writing things I’m really proud of, like this and this.
  63. Coffee! (Here’s what I drink at a coffeeshop, or at home)
  64. CraftSouth. I’m just glad it exists and I can’t wait to visit!
  65. Finally figuring out how to “be myself”.
  66. Vermont.
  67. How to ask useful questions. I’ve sent this to everyone. If you’re going to email me, please read this first.
  68. Teaching traditional artists and crafters in partnership with Handmade In America, all over North Carolina.
  69. Honesty about having an online business: Making money is easy. Being profitable takes skill. Marissa nails it. (Not sure if you’re going to be profitable? Do the math!)
  70. Saying No and helping my people say no more. Hearing their fantastic no-saying stories, that led to more profit, more time, and more happiness!
  71. Peonies!
  72. Turning 32.
  73. GlutenFreeGirl’s tale of adoption cracked open my heart and made me unendingly grateful for the internet
  74. Hanging art and photos up.
  75. Elise’s great advice on small biz shipping is the MOST repinned thing on my Pinterest. And for good reason!
  76. Connecting with you all in new ways: Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook
  77. “The way to have a clean kitchen is to clean it everyday.” – Stacey, giving the secret to business success
  78. Celebrating 10 years of marriage to my best friend.
  79. Quilts!  Especially this St. Louis 16 patch, Quilt Improv and everything at Red Pepper Quilts + Stitched in Color.  Quilting Happiness is my fave quilting book. (here’s why I loved it).
  80. The Customer Path. This year I seriously explored this concept and saw crazy results in my client’s businesses because of it.
  81. I love that Sarah is totally honest about why she writes what she writes on her mega-popular blog.
  82. Bristol Rhythm and Roots festival (especially St Paul and the Broken Bones.)
  83. Spotify and my Happy Sparkly playlist.
  84. Ocean sunsets.
  85. Cat fabrics! Especially Lizzy House’s Catnap and Aneela Hooey’s Hello Petal.
  86. This simple fact: You can have the business you want. Everything in my year and every client I worked with reaffirmed this

 

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

Warning: The Starship closes today.

The view

Mom is wearing my Christmas gift to her while she finishes her gift to me! #handmadeChristmas #handmadeholidays
New slippers! Yay! Hope your day is full of warmth and geekery. #taralovesChristmas #merrychristmas
New year. New pound of coffee. #taralovesmornings
Our Christmas cookie tray (hand painted by @bluebirdlegacy 9 years ago!), aka breakfast, filled with #vegan cookies. #taralovesChristmas #taralovesmornings
And my #handmadeChristmas gift for mom: Honey Cowl & Hurry Up Spring arm warmers out of @madelinetosh Blue Nile (pashmina & vintage).
You know I HAD to buy this fabric!  Love it! (Btw, the Starship closes in 5 days. Link in profile) #StarshipBiz

I am so grateful for…

  • Lovely, peaceful visits with family.
  • The excitement and promise of a New Year.
  • Warm handknits.
  • Christmas cookies.
  • The first group of Lift Offers!

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

  • Bean dip (the easiest thing when you come home from three straight weekends of family travel.)
  • Spicy marinara and tempeh meatballs from Isa Does It. (I make it once and then freeze the leftover meatballs, uncooked, so that it’s super easy to make again and again.)
  • This banana bread.

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Vermont, you sure are pretty.And the best part: Chocolate chocolate chips cookies (link to all recipes tomorrow on the blog.)
upload
The tree is up! #yayChristmas #doctorwho
Stella loves the Christmas lights.  #taralovesChristmas #catsofinstagram

First out of the oven: ginger molasses from @isachandra's #vegan cookies book. #taralovesChristmas

I am so grateful for…

  • The opportunity to spend time with my extended family
  • Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.
  • Staring at the Christmas tree
  • Watching White Christmas on the big screen!
  • Christmas knitting brought me back my knitting mojo!

The Finds:

I’m thinking about:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Homemade cinnamon roll + coffee + knitting + Gilmore Girls = perfect Saturday morning. #taralovesmornings
I woke up to uneasy snuggles. This is the closest they've ever been (touching!) and the peace holds only if they don't acknowledge the other exists.   #taralovesmornings #catsofinstagram #caturday
Pho for dinner.  With roast broccoli, cilantro, lime, pickled ginger, tofu and noodles. #whatveganseat

I am so grateful for…

  • A warm home on cold nights
  • A fantastically warm welcome to my newest thing
  • Saying yes to something new and big and exciting

The Finds:

I’m thinking about:

  • Since reading this post (and a zillion other studies) on the importance of standing up every 20 minutes, I downloaded Timer+ and set up a timer to go off every 20 minutes until 8 or 9 at night. I’m walking more steps and feel less achy at the end of the day.
  • You know I love CoSchedule (I go into detail about how I use it here), and this is a great post about fixing your Bounce Rate. (It convinced me to rewrite the headline on my Home page.)
  • Jay is not into sweaters, so when he asked if I could knit something like this, I was thrilled. But now I can’t find any patterns that are similar. Suggestions?

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

  • Be a Professional. Make the shift.
  • Overcome by self-doubt? You’re not alone!
  • I announced my newest thing (an awesome new class series, built to give you your best biz in 2015) to my email list and the reaction was delightful. If you aren’t on the list, and you’re curious, sign up here.

I’ve had a few questions this week about how to listen to the podcast, so I wanted to answer them here, in case you were wondering: 

  • If you don’t usually listen to podcasts (and don’t use an app on your phone), you can simply listen via the player in each post (it’s a little arrow button under each picture. If you click it, it will play!)
  • Or you can download each episode! In the “How to Listen” section of each podcast post, there is a link (embedded in the words “download it”) to the MP3. If you click it, the MP3 will start playing right away . If you right click, you can save it to your computer.
  • If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can use the “Podcast” app to listen – just click “add podcast”, search for “explore your enthusiasm” and select “subscribe”. This will ensure that each new episode will go write to your phone!
  • No matter what device you’re on, you can listen to the podcast via Stitcher here.

What adventures have you had?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Two of my favorite things: new pink chucks, coffee.
Today, the first snow, is a day for All The Hanknits. Cowl by @toiltrouble, hat by me in Malabrigo.
Two seconds into my first cup of coffee, I was colonized. What you can't see is the rest of her ample body draped across my whole lap. And the purrs.   #taralovesmornings #catsofinstagram

I am so grateful for…

  •  Warm handknits on cold days
  • Gilmore Girls on Netflix!
  • Roast squash
  • The gorgeous golden leaves in the setting sun.

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

A few last beach photos before I post the snow photos of home, while my current view is boring airport. #taralovesadventure
Quesadillas at a raw, #vegan shop next to the beach = so SoCal you can't stand it. Also, delicious. #whatveganseat
The most photogenic day ever. #oceanside #taralovesadventure
The New York skyline...in Legos. So awesome. #taralovesadventureI so wish I could properly capture the fantastic ORANGEYNESS of this tree.   #taralovesmornings

I am so grateful for…

  •  A fantastic visit with my family + my newly-graduated brother!
  • The fact that when I visit my family, I get to also swim in the ocean. 
  • The systems that allowed everything to run smoothly while I was totally offline.
  • The brilliants craftspeople at LegoLand for inspiring me to not be afraid of big, crazy projects. (That photo of the NYC skyline above? All legos, to exactly 1:20 scale)

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

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